The decision to start insulin pump therapy is personal, and there’s no right answer to the question of when and whether to start. Initially hesitant to have something attached to her body, after 17 years of multiple daily injections (MDI), Adele Morgan decided it was her time to begin her journey pumping with Medtronic. Pumping since 2003, this wife, mother, and grandmother, opens up on how her decision to start insulin pump therapy has made an impact on her life.
Years ago, I remember being invited by a friend of mine to go listen to a keynote speaker at the Alaska Women’s Show Convention. I was told that the speaker also had type 1 diabetes and wore an insulin pump. As soon as I heard she wore an insulin pump, my knee-jerk reaction in my mind was: “NO WAY, I really don’t want to waste my time, and I definitely don’t want to be attached to something 24-7!” My next thought was: “My A1C is pretty good with multiple daily injections (MDI), I’ve already been doing this diabetes thing for over 17 years; how could she know more than I do?”
Well, my friend didn’t give up on me and convinced me to go to the convention. As I was listening to this beautiful, vivacious young woman, something she said really got my attention, “You can’t give yourself 0.1 unit of insulin in a syringe.” I was very sensitive to insulin and was always having low blood sugar. Back then, I was having at least 2-3 serious lows a month, and was a firm believer in keeping my sugars lower than higher. However, this was such a difficult task, as I was very devoted to playing sports and working out. Then she said, “With my busy schedule as an entertainer and speaker, I have so much more flexibility.” Well, that really grabbed my attention.
I am a singer/songwriter in a band, and had an extensive performing schedule at the time. After being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I was having some confidence issues while performing. Earlier that month, I had to walk off the stage because of a low blood sugar during a concert. With MDI, my glucose levels would rise and fall so rapidly, it would make it difficult for me to think clearly, so I was never totally confident I’d be okay while performing on stage. Normally, I would give the audience a fun, relaxed experience at each concert because I was confident and relaxed. However, this was not the case. My BGs were becoming my focus before and during a show, rather than the people I loved to entertain. I didn’t want diabetes to take away my ability to do what I loved.
I decided to talk to the keynote speaker after the event and ask some really direct questions. As I was waiting my turn in line, I looked around to see a very diverse group of women. Many were sporting their insulin pumps with pride and sharing their experiences with others. “Seriously”, I said to myself, “If a four year old and an 80 year old can do this, so can I!”
My husband and I will never forget the first day I started on my Medtronic insulin pump. I think I was only on it for about four hours before I started tearing up and crying. My hubby was worried and thought maybe we had made a big mistake. Quickly, I let him know that my tears were “tears of joy.” I could not believe how normal I felt. I specifically remember saying, “I haven’t felt this good in 17 years!” I wish I hadn’t wasted so many years on injections!
It was definitely a learning curve, but the benefits completely out-weighed any of the inconveniences. I’ve learned many ways to creatively hide my pump in my outfits while on stage…no one ever knows I wear one unless I tell them. I’ve gained so much more confidence as a speaker and a performer.
For me, one of the advantages is using only short acting insulin. With MDI, I was mixing long acting with short acting insulin. Long acting insulin was so unpredictable for me. Low blood sugar would come on so quickly, I wouldn’t have enough time to treat myself and often had to have help from others. Now, I feel totally confident traveling by myself to gigs, even if I have to travel out of state or country. My ability to remember lyrics also improved when I started pumping. No singer wants to get on stage and totally forget the set list or song lyrics. Adrenaline before a performance plays a huge part in every entertainer or athlete’s life, but it also can wreak havoc on blood sugar. I always called this a “fake” BG high. With the pump, I am able to set a square wave bolus, and my BG’s are more stable. With MDI, I tended to take too much insulin for the “fake” high, and then I’d get too low once I relaxed on stage.
I am so happy that I chose a Medtronic pump, too! They have been with me just like a family. I can call the Helpline 24-7, and can count on them to be understanding, kind, and patient with any and all of my questions. For over 12 years, they have supported me in this journey.
I’ve discovered over the years that I made the right choice. My A1C’s went down. I use all of the features in my pump, like the square wave bolus, dual wave bolus, and temporary basal rate. You definitely don’t have those choices with MDI. I’m now in the driver’s seat and injections are no longer dictating what and when I need to eat. I can actually exercise without experiencing severe insulin reactions.
I’ve had type 1 diabetes now for 28 years and have no diabetic complications. I do give credit to my hard work and dedication in taking care of myself, but I have to say that since I wear a pump now, it’s so much easier!
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
– Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
– Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
– Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
– Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
– The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.
– Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.
For more information, please visit http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/important-safety-information.
Tags: diabetes management
, insulin pump
, multiple daily injections
, type 1 diabetes